Adapting student assessment to the needs of a digital age

In digital environments there is still not a clear answer about best practice or efficacy of assessments.  One thing we do know – digital environments require a different type of assessment and contextual lens through which to gauge meaning-making  .  But how do learning designers make decisions about effective and comprehensive assessments of understanding?  Every course is different – whether quantitative or qualitative.  In this article, Tony Bates shares his thoughts about assessment in the digital age.  “instructors should think about design through the lens of constructing a comprehensive learning environment in which teaching and learning will take place. I have been working through the various components of a learning environment, focusing particularly on how the digital age affects the way we need to look at some of these components.”

via Adapting student assessment to the needs of a digital age.

Informal or “Less Formal” Learning?

In order to assess how people define “informal learning” in the workplace, Jane Hart did a survey for an eLearning Guild report and asked respondents for their definitions. – “The first question asked respondents to select five words or phrases they felt best described the term “informal learning.” The purpose of this question was to see if respondents understood the term informal learning similarly to how experts understand it.”  The chart above shows the responses.

A copy of the report is at the link as well.

via eLearning Guild Research: Informal or “Less Formal” Learning? by Patti Shank : Learning Solutions Magazine.

Digital Tools Can’t Magically Create Connections

 

There are a number of digital tools used to make social connections, all with different purposes.  danah boyd’s recent book, “It’s Complicated, The Social Lives of Networked Teens” shares her as-always profound understanding of how networked spaces work.  In this article from DML Central, Nicole Mirra shares a review of one of danah and Harold Jenkins’ recent book talks and suggests ways in which some of the points made in the discussion geared for parents can also be used as catalysts for meaningful conversations between educators and their students.

1. “Tools that can connect us don’t do so automatically — online spaces are often just as segregated as other social spaces.”boyd and Jenkins explained that while it may appear that digital tools automatically inspire connection across boundaries, the reality of how people use them often produces increased isolation socioeconomically and ideologically……”

via Digital Tools Can’t Magically Create Connections | DMLcentral.

2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies

1/3 of faculty have taught an online class in the past year, and 62% of those faculty say that online learning will lead to pedagogical breakthroughs, according to a new study done by Educause.  Educause, a higher ed technology organization, is likely sharing information from its own member base who are all technology users – which is a subset of the total faculty population – but it is still very interesting.  Shared by Daniel Christian, here are some key findings.

 

“Faculty recognize that online learning opportunities can promote access to higher education but are more reserved in their expectations for online courses to improve outcomes.

Faculty interest in early-alert systems and intervention notifications is strong.

The majority of faculty are using basic features and functions of LMSs but recognize that these systems have much more potential to enhance teaching and learning.

Faculty think they could be more effective instructors if they were better skilled at integrating various kinds of technology into their courses.

Faculty recognize that mobile devices have the potential to enhance learning.”

via 2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies [Educause/ECAR].

These are the trends and challenges shaping online learning

 

 

It is interesting to see where online programs “live” in a school.  Sometimes each school within a University makes its own decisions and has its own faculty readiness program and expectations, but increasingly the decision making is being moved to one centralized location.  This infographic from Education Dive shares the results of a survey of 675 administrators, and depicts the online program roll out strategy that they found was most common.

 

These are the trends and challenges shaping online learning [Infographic] | Education Dive.

12 Steps for Creating a Digital Assignment or Hybrid Class

I’m often asked about new technology to offer faculty for use in their classes.  The first answer is number 3 below – best to use tools with which we are already familiar.   If the technology isn’t transparent, then it becomes the focus instead of the pedagogy or the content.  In this article from Jesse Stommel via Hybrid Pedagogy about Creating a Digital Assignment, he offers many great ideas (as always.)  But on a fundamental level, we often can’t get past the concept of anything minimally digital if the trepidation of a new tool gets in the way.

 

“Questions I ask myself when creating a digital assignment or hybrid course:

1. What is my primary goal for students with this course / assignment?

2. What is my digital pedagogy? How does my goal for this assignment intersect with my broader teaching philosophy?

3. What tools that I already use analog or digital could help me achieve these goals? It is often best to use the tools with which we are already familiar, rather than turning to the shiny and newfangled.

4. In order for this activity / class to work, what gaps do I need to fill with other tools / strategies?

5. Is my idea simple enough? What can I do to streamline the activity?

6. What is my goal beyond this assignment / course? How will the activity and my pedagogy evolve? In other words, don’t feel like you have to meet all your goals during the first attempt — think of the process, from the start, as iterative. Think also about how you can bring students their feedback and the fruits of their work during the first iteration into the continuing evolution of the activity / course.

7. Go back to step 1 and work through these steps and likely several times.”

via 12 Steps for Creating a Digital Assignment or Hybrid Class | Digital Pedagogy | Jesse Stommel  .

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